Best Handguns for Beginners

Get a handgun to begin a hobby or for self-defense. These 10 best beginner handguns are perfect for anyone looking to get out on the range or defend their family in an emergency.


The Mossberg 9mm subcompact pistol is the Mossberg MCS1sc. It has a single stack. It looks a bit different from the single-stack pistols that it competes with. First, you will notice the grip texture. Instead of having a texture all around the grip, it has a section that wraps around its back and another section that wraps around its front. You end up with grip texture at the area where your middle and ring fingers wrap around the grip. Grip texture can also be found in your palm, but not between your thumb and index.


For your first revolver, get a Smith and Wesson 686+. You can carry up to seven.357 Special or.38 Magnum rounds. Although the optional 4-inch barrel reduces recoil, it makes it harder to carry. Although there aren’t many revolvers on the list, Smith and Wesson is one of the most popular.


The VP9 was introduced in 2014. It uses a polymer frame to house the magazine and fire control group. The VP9’s sleek design is due in large part to the absence of a hammer at its rear. Modular ergonomics allows the handgun to be modified so that the grip and backstrap panels can be changed. This allows for a pistol that is more comfortable with smaller hands or larger grips. There are three grip panels on the pistol and six on the backstrap. This allows for 27 different ergonomic configurations. You can use the three-dot glow-in-the dark sight to prepare for low-light shooting conditions.


The Kahr CW9, another popular striker-fired pistol is also a great handgun for beginners. This handgun is lightweight at just over one pound and easy to carry. This intuitive pistol won’t leave you worrying about jams.


An automatic firing pin block is a must for any beginner pistol. This prevents accidental firing while the pistol is holstered. The Beretta PX4 should be included on every beginner pistol list.


The Smith and Wesson M&P380 Shield is a great starter pistol. The trigger reset function is audible and prevents accidental discharge. Small rear grip cuts help new gun owners safely aim the pistol. It is easy to aim with the angled grip and white dot sight. These features are all packed into a Smith and Wesson design.


Smith & Wesson’s M&P M2.0 was introduced in 2016. This improved second generation M&P is now available to all models, from the 5-inch guns aimed at the competition crowd to their compact Shield. Both Law Enforcement and concealed-carry markets have been extremely pleased with the Shield.


The Sig Sauer P320 was chosen by the U.S. Army as a sidearm to serve military personnel. Many interchangeable parts make it possible to customize the grip size and design to your needs. The popular firearm does not have an external safety or decocking mechanism that could cause it to slip on your belt or holster as you draw.


Ruger LCR9, another top-10-ranked revolver, is a snub nosed option. It’s not like the Smith and Wesson 686+. The double-action trigger is a long pull trigger. The double-action trigger has a long trigger pull. However, a snub nose reduces recoil and gives you a smaller gun for easier handling.


The Springfield XS Mod 2 Service Model is last, but not least. This popular pistol is a striking fire weapon with its aggressive grip texturing and sleek design. It comes from a reliable and highly-respected manufacturer.

11. Glock 17 (Full or Glock 19(Compact), Gen 5

Glock is a name everyone has heard of, including their mom.

It is a boring polymer but extremely reliable. This would be my choice if I could only take a random gun into a situation.

Many people feel the same way. That’s why Glock 19 is their most-selling 9mm.

While the newest Gen 5 Glocks have been released, you can still find many Gen 4 models.

California is one of the handgun-restricted states. Gen 3 is also fine (it’s what my gun has).

12. Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0

The M&P 2.0 is the latest version of the legendary M&P (military, police). This is the most popular 9mm handgun on the list.

I bought the FDE color version…

It is full-size. Here’s the comparison between my 1.0 and a full-size Glock 17. Although the original version was solid, it had a less-than-great trigger.

The M2.0 addresses this issue and adds more aggressive texturing to your grip.

It fits well in my hand, and even though I have the safety model at the moment, it’s very easy to remove and inserts for the holes. This makes it look exactly the same as the non-safety model.

It’s a good way to find out if you agree or disagree with my views on safety. You can choose either.

It was my second-best beginner 9mm handgun.

13. Springfield XD Mod 2, Model 2 Service Model

The latest version of the Springfield XD.

Another reliable striker-fired gun that was updated with more aggressive texturing. The stock trigger is my favorite. It’s a little too mushy, but it works in a positive way.

It has a small barrel, but a full-size grip. It has the best of both worlds!

It also has a grip safety, which means that your hand must be on the fire to ignite it.

This type of safety is acceptable to me, as it is passive and not dependent on a switch that you have to flip to unholster.

You will not be able to adjust the backstraps, so you have to like how it feels in store.

Because I have a very high, angled grip on my left hand, sometimes I slide to the stop.

How do you choose a beginner handgun


Fit is the most important aspect of choosing the best handgun.

We recommend that you get a “full-size” handgun, which is close to 5” barrels.

A full-sized handgun is easier to use because it has more mass to absorb the recoil, a wider grip area, and a greater sight radius between the front sight and the rear sight.


A striker-fired handgun is recommended for beginners and home defense. The trigger pull is almost identical to a double-action, at least when compared with a double-action.

A simple way to determine if a handgun or striker is to check the back of the slide for any visible hammer.

Double action pistols like the Beretta 92FS and most Sig Sauer’s have a heavy initial shot because you are cocking the hammer back.

Double action pistols like the Beretta 92FS and most Sig Sauer’s have a heavy initial shot because you are cocking the hammer back.

What do revolvers look like?

They are loved for their reliability and ability to deal with malfunctions (just press again), however, we dislike their low ammo (5 or 6 instead of 15+).

By Cary Grant

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